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Business

Bangkok's low-cost carrier hub to get 33% capacity boost

BANGKOK -- Airports of Thailand will invest 27 billion baht ($764 million) to expand the capital's hub airport for low-cost carriers in light of a sharp rise in travelers.

     The state-owned airport operator, known as AOT, will raise Don Mueang International Airport's passenger handling capacity by 33% to 40 million people a year by 2025. This will involve expanding the passenger building at the No. 1 terminal and adding more aircraft aprons.

     Don Mueang airport just lifted its capacity 60% to 30 million people on March 8, with the opening of the No. 2 terminal. But that likely will be outstripped by the end of this year, since 28.8 million passengers used the airport last year.

     For the time being, the airport operator aims to ease congestion by encouraging airlines to schedule flights during off-peak hours -- between midnight and 4:59 a.m. As an incentive, landing-takeoff fees will be discounted by 95% for regular services and 50% for chartered flights.

     AOT aims to use the same strategy at Suvarnabhumi Airport, or New Bangkok International Airport, to move flights to between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6:59 a.m., since the airport is already operating beyond its designed capacity.

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